"Talented Tradition: 'Wunnerful Women' carry on appeal of Welk's Show"
 
By Lindsay Allen, Staff Writer
Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun
Mt. Pleasant, MI
Sunday, May 5, 2002
 
After almost 33 years as a star of "The Lawrence Welk Show," Ralna English isn't looking to quit anytime soon.
 
"I'm going to perform until I fall apart - until I can't do it anymore. I think I'll know when it's time to quit," English said in a telephone interview from her Arizona home. "Right now, I'm having too much fun. I'm not ready to quit."
 
This year marks the 50th year of the show, which is viewed by 2.5 million people on 276 public television stations each week.
 
"Don't ask me - it's a phenomenon," English said of the show's success. "We have generation after generation . That's why we're still on the air."
 
But the show's stars aren't limited toothier weekly television appearance. English tours extensively on her own, and she's recently joined forces with classmates Mary Lou Metzger, Ava Barber and Gail Farrell to form the "4 Wunnerful Women," a touring production based on the Lawrence Welk Show concept.
 
The 4 Wunnerful Women will perform at 3 p.m. May 20 at the Soaring Eagle Casino Entertainment Hall in Mt. Pleasant, and the show will include gospel music, patriotic music, songs from the big band era and the music of the Andrews Sisters.
 
The performance will feature a number of costume changes, several individual performances and many collaborative performances by the four women, English said.
 
Largely, the 4 Wunnerful Women stage show serves as a tribute to the late Welk, who died in 1992.
 
"Lawrence created a family - he called us his musical family," English said of the show's cast. "We have continued to be a family. We tolerate each other, we love each other, we respect each other and we're protective of one another also."
 
And especially close-knit are the members of the 4 Wunnerful Women, she said.
 
"We love working together so much, and it's so evident when people see us," English said. "It's turned out to be one of the best things."
 
Performing live is English's favorite way to connect with her fans, who are primarily members of the older crowd.
 
"I like the live performances most because every night you have a different audience and you're able to be fresh with your performance," she said.
 
Tickets for the May 20 performance by the 4 Wunnerful Women cost $27 and can be purchased at the Soaring Eagle Casino box office or by calling (800) 585-3737 (toll free). Tickets also are available online at www.tickets plus.net.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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